He had acquired an 8870/M25 and needed some help getting it running.
After a brief Email exchange I managed to figure out what the chassis contained and it seemed like he had a working DAP4 terminal. When he’d attempted to boot the system, it had replied with a status 26 on the CPU display (VDU does not reply). I arranged a visit as I was eager to see if this was really a running system and had a copy of the elusive operating system I’ve been looking for.
I supplied him with a cable diagram for a DAP4 master port (why oh why do people just shear through cables when removing old computers), and he attempted to boot the system but was having problems.
In my previous blog posts I’ve mentioned that working VDUs are in serious short supply. Out of the four I have, only one is working and that is a little temperamental so I was very reluctant to bounce it half way across the country but in any case, from what Jim has said it looked like his VDU was working.
I arrived at Jim’s impressive place, and Jim, his friend Trevor and I wandered off in to his warehouse to have a look. The 8870 was stood there looking like a tiny box among some of the behemoth machines Jim has in his collection.
The first thing was to start the terminal and make sure it had the correct keyboard parameters entered – the VDU refused to work and my heart sank. York isn’t exactly close and it was a very long way to go to look at a faulty terminal. I opened up the terminal, removed the CPU card, checked for anything obvious, reassembled and tried again; still dead. The PSU seems to be working but the CPU card looks like it’s faulty. With no VDU and no spares, and the fact that you can’t boot the system without a Nixdorf terminal, that seemed to be that.
We did start the machine and as expected, eventually came up with status 26 – there was an operating system on that drive, and it was at least partly intact.
Jim suggested that I take the drive away, install it in my hardware and see what it contained and I left Jim my spare disk unit that I’d brought with me.
So as not to waste the trip, I gave them a guided tour of the hardware, opening up the PSU, battery backup and other system plates for them to see how everything was constructed. The machine was reassembled and I hurried back home to see what was on the disk drive.
As it happens, Jim’s faulty VDU appears to have been a blessing in disguise, as it’s given me the opportunity to bring his drive back with me, and work on it at me leisure.
I'll write more soon on how this is progressing, but it's been full of ups and downs, and it's not over yet, but so far, things are looking promissing.